With the arrival of the NHL All-Star ballots, our thoughts can now turn to who are the most deserving players to represent their respective conferences. These are my choices for Eastern Conference Fantasy All-Stars (positions based on Yahoo eligibility) at the quarter mark of the season (all statistics are prior to last night’s games):
Surprise, it’s not Sidney Crosby. The most valuable fantasy centre thus far has to be Vincent Lecavalier. Not only is he leading the league in scoring, he’s a healthy plus-9 and has 34 minutes in penalties. All that to go along with 11 power play points, one short-handed point, three game winners and 83 shots on goal.
The other Eastern Conference All-Star pivots:
Sidney Crosby – 30 points, 13 power play points, two game winners
Mats Sundin – 28 points, plus-8, 22 penalty minutes, 68 shots on goal
Rod Brind’Amour – 27 points, 13 power play points, king of face-off wins
Ilya Kovalchuk was expected to be at the top of the LW pile. After his first six games, things weren’t looking all that rosy in Atlanta. A coaching change seemed to provide just the spark needed to ignite Kovalchuk. He’s been tremendous in November scoring 21 points in only nine games and sits second in the NHL scoring race.
Rounding out the port side:
Dany Heatley – 25 points, plus-14, 26 penalty minutes, LW-RW versatility
Evgeny Malkin – 28 points, 12 power play points, 65 shots on goal
Vaclav Prospal – 24 points, plus-6, 15 penalty minutes, 7 power play points
Heading into last night’s game, there was a three way tie for the top scoring RW. My choice is Daniel Alfredsson. He has 27 points, four short-handed points, 78 shots on goal and is plus-8. Being on the top line on the best team in the NHL, doesn’t hurt either.
These guys are all Right too:
Martin St. Louis – 27 points, plus-7, 11 power play points, two game winners
Justin Williams – 24 points, 37 penalty minutes, 71 shots on goal
Alexei Kovalev – 19 points, 12 power play points, 20 penalty minutes
How is it possible that the NHL could forget to include last year’s number two scoring defenseman (two points back of Scott Niedermayer) on the All-Star ballot? Obviously the person(s) in charge made an error of epic proportions because there is no way he was intentionally left off the list. The player is of course Sergei Gonchar. Not surprisingly, he leads all defensemen in scoring with 19 points, has 26 penalty minutes, 13 power play points and 52 shots on goal.
Starting on the other side is Montreal’s Andrei Markov. When the Habs let Sheldon Souray walk this summer, they put Markov in charge of the power play. While he doesn’t have the cannon that Souray has, he’s been productive, scoring 17 points, 11 by way of the power play. He’s also found the time to rack up 20 penalty minutes, score two short-handed points and a game winner.
Here’s the rest of my Eastern Conference Fantasy All-Star defence:
Tomas Kaberle – 17 points, nine power play points, one game winner, 37 shots on goal.
Paul Ranger – 14 points, plus-11, only one power play point
Tobias Enstrom – 13 points, plus-8, nine power play points and tons of ice time.
Zdeno Chara - 11 points, 52 penalty minutes, 46 shots on goal
Remember back in September, while preparing for our hockey drafts, the general consensus was Luongo, Brodeur, Kiprusoff as the big three fantasy goaltenders. The next tier included Backstrom, Nabokov and Lundqvist.
Right now there is no better goalie to own in fantasy hockey than Henrik Lundqvist. His 12 wins (Gerber – 13), 1.75 goals against average (Osgood – 1.65) and four shutouts (Leclaire – five) place him second in the league in all of those categories. His .934 save percentage ranks third behind only Tim Thomas and Martin Gerber. Lundqvist is also third in saves (Vokoun is first and Martin Biron is second) in the NHL.
Rounding out the goaltending:
Martin Gerber – 13 wins (first in NHL), .939 save percentage (second in NHL), 1.86 goals against average (third in NHL).
Tim Thomas – League leading .941 save percentage, 2.05 goals against average (third in Eastern Conference).
Beast from the East
While there were a couple of players that caught my eye over the last two weeks, but there is really only one clear choice. He had an eight game (21 points) scoring streak broken on Wednesday night by King Henrik and the Rangers of New York. He’s been the NHL’s No.1 Star of the Week for the last two weeks. He’s also at the very top of the NHL scoring race. Of course I’m talking about Vincent Lecavalier. He’s pure fantasy gold.
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